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The latest news from every corner of the state, including policy emerging from Missouri's capitol.

Nursing home workers threaten strike at Ferguson facility

The Christian Care Home at 800 Chambers Road in Ferguson. A union representing about 100 employees is planning for a strike to begin Friday.
Provided by SEIU Healthcare
The Christian Care Home at 800 Chambers Road in Ferguson. A union representing about 100 employees is planning for a strike to begin Friday.

After filing a federal complaint, nursing home workers at the Christian Care Home in Ferguson plan to strike outside the facility early Friday morning. Union officials said they are protesting unfair labor practices.

Brenda Davis, a certified medication technician, said that leadership cut back hours for staff and changed schedules without giving notice, or a chance for the union to bargain. That left many shifts understaffed.

“We just don’t have the help. There’s nobody there. The work is so heavy, we have literally had two people for a floor of 50 and 60 residents,” said Davis, a member of the union's bargaining committee.

“We have to make a major move to get the respect that we need as workers,” she said.

Representatives for the Christian Care Home did not respond to a request for comment. Most nurses, maintenance workers and housekeeping staff are represented by SEIU Healthcare Missouri and Kansas.

Missouri’s nursing homes are hitting hard times. Skilled nursing facilities like the Christian Care Home absorbed a 3.5 percent cut to Medicaid funding this year, despite already having one of the lowest reimbursement rates in the country.

The change went into effect after Gov. Eric Greitens vetoed a bill that would have allocated additional funding to long-term care facilities and in-home services.

“Nursing homes across the state are behind on their payments, and they’re starting to have some strain,” said Harvey Tettlebaum, an attorney who represents the Missouri Health Care Association.

Christian Care Home has 150 skilled nursing beds and 28 residential care beds, under the ministry of the Christian Woman’s Benevolent Association. The home celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2011, and has been at its current location at 800 Chambers Road since the 1970’s.

Follow Durrie on Twitter: @durrieB

Copyright 2017 St. Louis Public Radio

Durrie Bouscaren was a general assignment reporter with Iowa Public Radio from March 2013 through July 2014.
Durrie Bouscaren
Durrie Bouscaren covers healthcare and medical research throughout the St. Louis metro area. She comes most recently from Iowa Public Radio’s newsroom in Des Moines, where she reported on floods, a propane shortage, and small-town defense contractors. Since catching the radio bug in college, Bouscaren has freelanced and interned at NPR member stations WRVO, WAER and KQED. Her work has aired on All Things Considered, KQED’s The California Report, and Harvest Public Media, a regional reporting collaborative.